There has been a massive investment in the installation of online catalogs: in selection, in the supporting infrastructure of terminals and networks, in catalog record…
There has been a massive investment in the installation of online catalogs: in selection, in the supporting infrastructure of terminals and networks, in catalog record conversion, in training, and, lately, in linking online catalogs with other online systems. In contrast, the state‐of‐the‐art of the functionality of online library catalogs has advanced little in the past few years. Rather it has been a matter of existing systems being upgraded towards the functionality of the better systems and of refinements being added. It is time for a further advance in online catalog design. We believe that the next generation of online catalogs should and will have features such as those discussed and illustrated in this article.
This article examines the structure and components of information storage and retrieval systems and information filtering systems. Analysis of the tasks performed in such selection systems leads to the identification of 13 components. Eight are necessarily present in all such systems, mechanized or not; the others may, but need not be, present. The authors argue that all selection systems can be represented in terms of combinations of these components. The components are of only two types: representations of data objects and functions that operate on them. Further, the functional components, or rules, reduce to two basic types: 1) transformation, making or modifying the members of a set of representations, and 2) sorting or partitioning. The representational transformations may be in the form of copies, excerpts, descriptions, abstractions, or mere identifying references. By partitioning, we mean dividing a set of objects by using matching, sorting, ranking, selecting, and other logically equivalent operations. The typical multiplicity of knowledge sources and of system vocabularies is noted. Some of the implications for the study, use, and design of information storage and retrieval systems are discussed.
Libraries assemble very large quantities of materials. These collections perform three quite different roles: archival, dispensing, and bibliographic. The bibliographic…
Libraries assemble very large quantities of materials. These collections perform three quite different roles: archival, dispensing, and bibliographic. The bibliographic role of the collection is compared with bibliographies and catalogues. The distinction between materials and collection development is basic. Collection development in libraries is analogous to file organisation in computing systems and, although commonly viewed narrowly as selection for acquisition, includes a range of decisions which determine the profile of any collection. The rise of remotely‐accessible materials makes possession less important relative to access, has important consequences for all three roles of collections, and indicates a shift in emphasis away from collection development and conventional catalogues and toward bibliography and cooperation.
Considerable attention has been paid, in this journal and elsewhere, to each of two aspects of the use of literature. One of these is the relative decrease in use of material as it ages (‘obsolescence’) which has been discussed by Brookes and many others. The other aspect is the extent to which the use of material tends to be concentrated in a few titles (‘Bradford's Law of scattering’), which has been treated by Bradford, Leimkuhler, Brookes, and Fairthorne.
The great majority of academic libraries find themselves in a vast and often unmarked territory between two polar sets of goals and aspirations. These two poles could be…
The great majority of academic libraries find themselves in a vast and often unmarked territory between two polar sets of goals and aspirations. These two poles could be represented by the model of the great research library, on the one hand, and the discount store, on the other. In choosing the first ideal, the library decides to acquire as broad a selection of research materials as possible, including infrequently used primary materials (census records, publications from limited editions, personal manuscripts, and unpublished pamphlets) in order that researchers may, at least in theory, find the collection all‐ or nearly all‐sufficient. Holders of this view point with pride to the contents of the catalog. At the other pole, the library sets out to be as responsive to demand as possible, to provide more and more of the materials which “move off the shelves” and, like the discount store, to discontinue stock items which are less popular than something more attractive which might replace them. Advocates of this view point with pride to the swarming circulation desk.
The paper aims to explain the character and causes of obsolescence in assigned subject descriptors.
The paper takes the form of a conceptual analysis with examples and reference to existing literature.
Subject description comes in two forms: assigning the name or code of a subject to a document and assigning a document to a named subject category. Each method associates a document with the name of a subject. This naming activity is the site of tensions between the procedural need of information systems for stable records and the inherent multiplicity and instability of linguistic expressions. As languages change, previously assigned subject descriptions become obsolescent. The issues, tensions, and compromises involved are introduced.
Drawing on the work of Robert Fairthorne and others, an explanation of the unavoidable obsolescence of assigned subject headings is presented. The discussion relates to libraries, but the same issues arise in any context in which subject description is expected to remain useful for an extended period of time.
Over the past eight years, the MELVYL catalog has become one of the largest public access catalogs in the world, and now plays a central role in providing access to the…
Over the past eight years, the MELVYL catalog has become one of the largest public access catalogs in the world, and now plays a central role in providing access to the library resources of the University of California. Currently, under heavy load, the MELVYL catalog supports many hundreds of simultaneous terminal connections, servicing over a quarter of a million queries a week and displaying more than two million records a week to its user community. This article discusses the history of the network that has supported the MELVYL catalog from the early days of its prototype to the present. It also describes both the current technical and policy issues that must be addressed as the network moves into the 1990s, and the roles that the network is coming to play in integrating local automation, the union catalog, access to resource databases, and other initiatives. Sidebars discuss the TCP/IP protocol suite, internet protocol gateways, and Telenet and related inter‐operability problems.